Feb 8 through Feb 12
Hari squared her shoulders before stepping through the floo to Grimmauld. She hadn't been back since Tom gave Jacob a very needed beat down.
Sirius and Brianne had taken Carlisle and Esme to look at a couple of estates. Hari had went with them instead of staying to deal with the weeping and wailing. Cowardly perhaps but she just hadn't wanted to deal with it. When they had returned to Grimmauld for supper Nessie was still upstairs with Jacob. Remus had set his bones, but Jacob refused any of the 'witches brew'.
Leah had went off on Hari about Tom nearly killing their alpha and how he had no right to interfere in pack business. Hari had bluntly said she was in no mood to deal with the attitude, that Jacob had no right to rip into Seth just for being a normal teen, that he was being extremely rude as a guest in the house and had flooed to Westmoor. She felt much better after torturing and killing the arse, Helmsley. Something she knew she could never let her godfathers know about.
Tom was happily plotting domination and refused to come with her and deal with angst from people he couldn't crucio. She smiled slightly thinking of her Tom. He had made her toes curl this morning before letting her out of bed.
A slight cough had her paying attention to her surroundings. Jasper was reading in a high backed chair. He looked decidedly amused.
"You are throwing off some very intense feel-good emotions," he teased.
She flushed slightly. "Well, my Tom is very talented."
He laughed. "I dare you to think hard on the subject around Edward."
She smirked then sobered. "So how is the general mood?"
Jasper sighed. "Jacob is fuming but too terrified of your Tom right now to mouth off. Nessie is torn between 'I told you so' and 'how dare they hurt him'. Leah is actually calmed down and thinking about what Tom said to her and honestly trying to let go of the hard anger and resentment. Seth is keeping a low profile. Internally he is feeling vindicated. Jacob has been riding him hard, venting all his frustration on him. He is worried though that when they shift and Jacob catches on to his emotions that he'll thrash him."
Hari's eyes narrowed. "Jacob had better have learned his lesson. He hurts my friend and I'll thrash him."
A soft noise in the doorway had both their attentions shifting. Leah stood there looking uncertain. Finally, she took a breath and stepped into the room. "I owe you an apology." She said lowly to Hari. "I've been thinking about what Tom said and he's right. I need to quit wallowing in self-pity and grow up. You've been a good friend to Seth. You didn't have to bring me to England but you did…for Seth not me. I know that. Thank you and I'm sorry I've been such a bitch."
"You're welcome. You do know that what you need is to get away from Forks."
Leah flinched. "Yeah…but pack…my pack is there."
Hari nodded. "A difficult decision. I can tell you from my own experience that no one will treat you as an adult until you leave home and start acting like one."
Jasper looked at the uncomfortable shifter. "If you found a job here, would you stay? I am certain that Carlisle is looking for a house large enough that we would not have to see each other if you wished to board in one wing or even a smaller cottage on the estate."
Leah looked surprised at the offer. "I…I would need to discuss it with Seth and Jacob."
Jasper nodded and stood gracefully. "I believe the others are still in the kitchen eating breakfast. Esme is in her element cooking for an appreciative group although the odd little beings are quite put out by her doing their job."
"Yeah, house elves are like that."
Leah led the way stepping into the kitchen and making for the table to sit by Seth. Hari stepped in and looked over at Nessie to see if she was mad at her. The girl was looking pale with Jacob silent and brooding at her side.
Hari sighed as she crossed the room to sit beside Sirius.
Sirius leaned over and one arm hugged her. "Hello, pup."
"Hi, Padfoot. Are we looking at more estates today?"
"Yep. Esme and the realtor put their heads together and picked five more to drag us poor males through."
Esme just smirked. "You want to continue to eat my excellent meals you have to help me find a new home."
"We are definitely house hunting today." Sirius and Remus both muttered as they dug into French toast stuffed with strawberries and cream."
"Nessie?" Hari said deciding she didn't want this huge elephant in the room all day.
"He had no right to hurt Jacob like that." Nessie snapped.
"Perhaps not." Hari admitted. "He is a Dark Lord though. Think Alpha of nearly all dark wizards in Britain. Think coven leader of all vampires in Britain to put it in terms you might understand. If it had been during his first rise to power, he would have killed him without remorse for the disrespect Jacob showed him when he hit him. As it stands," she continued firmly with a glare at Jacob who had started to open his mouth, "Jacob was being rude and disrespectful to everyone in the house. He uses his position, his height and his temper to try and intimidate everyone and to get away with being an arse. Sooner or later someone was going to take offense and teach him some manners. You know his behavior is not acceptable."
Jacob glowered at her.
"I know." Nessie whispered.
"Do you want to spend you life placating a violent, hot tempered mate? Worry he'll lose it one day and scar you like Uley scarred his imprint?"
"I'd never!" Jacob exploded jerking to his feet only to have three wands point at him and the vampires attention shift pointedly to him.
Nessie glowered at Hari hating anyone saying something like that about Jacob. "He wouldn't hurt me."
"Perhaps. I know your parents would rip him apart if he did. Question is who might he hurt? When his possessiveness gets out of control? How isolated are you willing to let him make you? First its me then its another friend he doesn't like then perhaps he's jealous of all males talking to you. How far will you let it go?"
Nessie was staring at her wide eyed. He gaze shifted to Jacob. He was furious and barely able to restrain himself from attacking Hari. Nessie could tell it. "You're right," she muttered. "The more I excuse him the worse he gets."
"Renesmee," Jacob growled staring at her with a wounded expression.
"She's right and you know it." Carlisle said firmly. "You need to look for a different role model than Sam Uley. He does not handle leadership well either. There is more to being in charge than giving orders and crushing the spirit of those beneath you, Jacob. Your current methods will only make those in your pack fear and resent you."
"Tell you what. You want to see power and leadership. The next large meeting Tom has with his followers I'll invite you all over. You can stay in the shadows if you wish so no one sees you there. You can watch him be something other than my boyfriend."
"That might be a good suggestion." Esme spoke up calmly.
Hari focused on Nessie. "Are we still friends?"
"Yes," Nessie huffed.
"Now we have some house hunting to do." Esme diverted them with a bright smile.
Sirius and Remus looked thoughtful as they all flooed over to the realtors.
The realtor was extremely nervous around them. Four of the adults glittered in the light. Vampires of a different sort than usually seen in Britain, but vampires nonetheless. The three dark skinned teens gave off dangerous vibes as well. The largest one seemed to barely have his violent nature leashed. She wondered what they were.
Gathering her courage and remembering that this was a major commission in the making, she smiled and gave them the portkey to the first estate.
Everyone except the wizards looked at the empty, rocky field in confusion.
"Wards," Remus murmured.
The realtor nodded briskly as she stepped forward and whispered a phrase. Gates appeared then a manicured lawn with a proper English garden and in the distance a looming manor house.
Carlisle glanced at his wife. She picked this huge monstrosity as a possible future home. She gave him a small, quick shake of her head and a pointed look at the realtor. Ah.
They barely made it through the ground floor of the dark brooding manor when Esmee said, "No." She looked at the realtor. "We like open and airy, spacious rooms and lots of windows."
The realtors lips pressed together slightly then her face cleared and she nodded.
Carlisle sighed. "Madame, trust me that you will not only get your commission but, if you find us what we love without running my wife out of patience, then I shall give you a large bonus as well. Money is truly not an issue and we are not wasting your time."
The witch flushed but nodded her head. She struck two of the remaining four estates off her list. Leaving the grounds they all portkeyed to the next location.
A large pink and grey castle sprawled over acres of lawn and garden. A thick forest spread out behind the building. Wide, for a castle, windows dotted the face of the massive structure.
It took two hours to look through it. Alice and Jasper raced through the grounds while the others checked out the castle.
"I like it," Alice murmured, "but I don't see us here."
"One more, Jacob, then we can do whatever you wish the remainder of the day." Esmee placed a gentle hand on the shifter's arm.
Jacob ran a hand through his hair. "I'm sorry I'm ruining your vacation." He muttered. Esmee had never been anything but nice to him.
"Oh, sweetie, you aren't ruining anything. We've just had a lot longer to grow up and learn how to interact with others than you. Believe me, Carlisle was not always wise and patient." She gave him a gentle smile. "You'll get there." She linked her arm around his. "Come on now let's go look at this one last place."
The house was lovely. Three stories with peaked roofs and gables. Wooden balconies ran the length of the second and third floors. Curving staircases on each end of the house led to the second floor. Windows were everywhere showing a brightly lit interior with large spacious rooms.
A large water feature with a fountain sat in front of the house with white swans swimming amongst water lilies.
Nessie excitedly dragged Jacob to watch the swans while the rest took a more leisurely approach. The grounds were surrounded by four foot hedges breaking the large expanse into separate gardens and sitting areas.
Inside they were met with gleaming marble floors and damask wallpaper. The foyer led to large sunny sitting rooms with huge fireplaces.
"Oh, I like this," Esmee murmured excitedly.
An hour later she was certain this was their new home. It was remote and had miles of forested land. It was open and bright. The rooms were large and high ceilinged. The kitchen was spacious and just off the dining room.
Carlisle smiled down at her. He looked at the realtor. "We'll take it."
Nessie squealed in delight even as Jacob scowled darkly.
Seth and Leah looked very upset.
Jacob was imprinted on Nessie. If she moved to England, he had to move to England. He was their alpha. They did not want to return to Sam's pack. Leah refused to return to Sam's pack.
"I'm telling you Hermione its disgusting. The way things are changing. First Potter showed what a coward she is and ran away, telling lies about Dumbledore."
"I have no doubt Potter was behind the expose to Board of Governors that got him fired." Hermione replied in a primly outraged voice.
"Now we have some dark wizard in charge of Hogwarts and doing who knows what kind of evil things to the professors and saying it was Dumbledore who did something. Dad is actually letting them into our heads! He's even having Fred, George and Percy come back for their 'help'."
"What! Your mother is allowing it?"
"Dad is doing it against Mum's wishes. He says Dumbledore has been proven to be a criminal."
Hermione took a shaky breath. "My parents are upset but are helpless to do anything. Being muggles they have no way to get here and no rights to interfere in my magical health." She was near tears. She hadn't felt so helpless and frightened since she was a first year. "I can't believe Potter is spreading lies and people are believing her."
"What lies would that be, Granger?" Daphne Greengrass asked, entering the transfiguration classroom.
"What lies?! Are you serious? She accused Dumbledore of being friends with Grindelwald! Implied he was Dark! That he was a criminal!" Hermione screeched.
"Yeah she also made it seem like he was behind all the bad things that happened here while she was in school!" Ron shouted.
"As headmaster he would be aware of what crossed the wards. There is no way he didn't know about the Dark Lord or the troll and how could the professors not figure out the basilisk before a third year did?" Daphne sneered.
"I know that several Ravenclaws have researched her accusations and Dumbledore and Grindelwald were friends. It was also proven that Dumbledore knew that Black was not the secret keeper for the Potters." Tracy Davis backed up her friend.
"LIARS! SLIMY SNAKES TRYING TO DESTROY A GOOD MAN'S REPUTATION!" Ron sent a reducto at the girls.
Daphne shielded while Tracy sent a cutting curse back at Ron.
Hermione shielded him as Ron's face turned purple with rage as the Slytherin scum attacked him. He sent a bludgeoning hex that took out part of the wall when the girls dodged it.
Others showed up and joined in. Draco, Blaise and Theo started sending hexes and curses trying to defend Daphne and Tracy. Seamus, Dean and Lavender began shooting spells back at them. Soon almost the entire class was shooting spells at each other.
"WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING?!" Professor McGonagall shrieked from the doorway. She stared at the Gryffindors and Slytherins squaring off against each other. The classroom was a wreck. Walls had gouges dug in them, chairs and desks were blown to pieces and several students were sporting injuries.
"THE DIRTY SNAKES ATTACKED US!" Ron yelled.
"YOU ATTACKED US FIRST, WEASLEY!" Tracy screamed.
"WE WERE TALKING ABOUT POTTER LYING ON DUMBLEDORE AND THEY STARTED HEXING AND CURSING US!" Hermione shouted.
"WE DID NOT!"
"SILENCE!" McGonagall yelled and rubbed her temples. She had been in the infirmary for three days after the decades of compulsions and mental manipulations had been removed. Her head had just quit hurting yesterday. She gave them all a withering look. "This kind of behavior is not acceptable. She looked around the classroom. "Mr. Longbottom, go tell the headmaster we need him and his pensieve. Mr. Avery, go tell Professor Snape his presence would be appreciated."
"But we told you what happened!" Hermione screamed.
"You will not shout at me, Ms. Granger and I am well aware of the animosity between the two houses. We will review memories of the event and see what the truth is."
"But nothing! My head is pounding again, thank you very much, now everyone sit down and be quiet!" McGonagall snapped. "Merlin can you do nothing but whine and yell?!"
They gaped at the uncharacteristic response from the usually stern and taciturn professor. Silently they found seats. Several had to remain standing since many of the seats were destroyed and McGonagall didn't looked predisposed to repairing them.
"Professor, could you repair the chairs for us?" Hermione asked huffily.
"No. You are a seventh year and Head Girl. I should think you could repair a chair, Ms. Granger and two points from Gryffindor for not knowing how to be silent."
Hermione blinked rapidly to keep tears from falling at the harsh reprimand. The others were shocked at the loss of points.
The door opened and Snape strode in with Harris Avery dogging his heels. Snape took in the destroyed room as he moved toward McGonagall while Harris moved to sit with his fellow Slytherins.
Snape frowned as he noted Minerva rubbing her temples. Lines of pain etched on her face. Dumbledore had done massive behavioral and loyalty modifications on the witch and she wasn't young anymore. "What happened here?" He asked as he grasped her elbow and led her to her desk. He sat her down and handed her a headache potion.
"Thank you, Severus." She murmured and took the potion. "I arrived to find our students in the midst of a brawl. I sent Mr. Avery for you and Mr. Longbottom after the headmaster and his pensieve. There will be no false blame placed today." McGonagall stated fiercely.
Snape stared at her then nodded succinctly. "If my students started it, they shall be punished appropriately."
"As shall mine." McGonagall agreed.
Hermione and Ron exchanged worried looks. The looks deepened when Headmaster Pfeiffer walked in with his pensieve.
Neville edged past him and moved to sit by Pavarti. He may not approve of dark arts and wasn't fond of Slytherin house but he did not approve of attacking them over a verbal altercation especially over Dumbledore who had been proven to be not so good and light.
Pfeiffer placed the pensieve on McGonagall's desk. He leveled a sternly disappointed look on the subdued students. "Who started this brawl?"
"She did!" Ron pointed at Daphne.
"I did not! You did!"
"Enough! Both of you come here!" McGonagall snapped.
"Do either of you know how to pull a memory to be viewed?" Pfeiffer asked.
Ron shook his head.
"I do, Headmaster." Daphne muttered.
The headmaster faced Ron. "You will think of the altercation. I will place my wand at your temple and pull the memory out."
Ron turned a sickly green, but knew he had no choice but let the dark wizard put his wand to his head. He thought about the Slytherin girls sending spells at him and Hermione and the fight that happened afterwards. He shuddered when the wand touched his temple and pulled a silvery strand from his head.
The headmaster dropped it into the pensieve and swirled it before tapping a rune on the side. The memory started with the Slytherin girls firing off spells. They watched to the end. The Gryffindors glared at Daphne and Tracy.
Daphne though just waited until the pensieve was empty and pulled her memory which included the conversation her and Tracy had overhead before making their presence known.
Ron and Hermione flushed and paled under the headmaster's gaze as their accusations spilled out for everyone to hear. Then came Ron losing his temper and casting the reducto.
Now the Slytherins were glaring at them as well as several of the Gryffindors. Snape was practically vibrating with anger at the attack on his house. McGonagall looked pale as she realized just how badly affected the students were.
Pfeiffer looked very grim. "I cannot let this go unpunished. An attack such as this is cause for expulsion, Mr. Weasley, Ms. Granger." He paused to watch that sink in and for the two teens to pale. "However, I realize that most of your actions are not truly your own…hopefully. Therefore, you two will be seen by the mind healers today. In fact, all of Gryffindor will be seen in the next few days as I cannot in good conscience let this rabid hostility fester until the end of the year."
He stopped speaking as the Gryffindors all broke out in outraged shouting and defiance. He let them go on for several minutes before silencing them with a pulse of magic. "Control yourselves." He snapped. "Thirty points each from you two and after you have been released from the mind healers you will have a week of detentions. I will let Professors McGonagall and Snape decide the detentions."
"What! What about those two?!" Ron pointed at Daphne and Tracy.
"I won't punish anyone for defending themselves." He looked at the Slytherins. "Do not take that as permission to exact revenge for today. Any incidents will be reviewed in the pensieve. Am I understood?"
"Yes, Headmaster." They all murmured.
"Very good. Now as to the accusations that I am a dark wizard…yes I am. To the accusation that I am evil and the mind healers are evil…no, we are not. In fact, four of the six healers are Light. I and the Board of Governors have had in depth conversations with many of your parents to relieve their worries. We haven't hid what we are doing or why. We have also informed them that they may take you to a mind healer of their choice during the summer to verify what the healers have done."
The headmaster gathered the pensieve after Daphne retrieved her memory and left the classroom. Snape glared at them all including his students. "I suggest you all begin repairing the damage you caused to Professor McGonagall's classroom."
The students flinched from the icy command and slowly began repairing the walls, chairs and desks. McGonagall watched a moment then leaned back in her chair and shut her eyes. Snape eyed her intently before crouching at her side. He was worried about her. "Minerva," he murmured softly. "If you wish, I can take this class over. If you need a few more days to recover, we will cover your class. I even promise to be fair to your lions."
McGonagall swallowed fitfully. A tear slid down her lined cheek. "It hurts," she murmured.
"Yes." Snape murmured understanding she wasn't talking of just the physical pain she was still in. Flitwick had recovered quicker because the goblin heritage had buffered him and loosened the hold Dumbledore had on him. Professor Sprout was still holed up in her room switching from crying to raging over what had been done to them and generations of students. McGonagall though had considered Dumbledore a friend, a mentor. She had been at his side, faithfully, for fifty years.
She stood shakily. "I believe I will take you up on your offer, Severus." She pulled out her lesson book and flipped to the day's page.
Snape patted her shoulder gently. "I will take good care of your students. Go."
The students watched in stunned silence as McGonagall walked slowly from the room. They turned their attention to Snape.
They all sat.
"Professor McGonagall has decided to take a few more days to recover. I will cover this class then speak with the headmaster about getting her classes covered for the next few days. I do hope you are all proud that you set her recovery back like this."
The students ducked their head in shame. Most everyone liked McGonagall.
"Today we will begin to cover color changing spells." Snape began. "I suggest you take copious amounts of notes."
He smirked as they dove for parchment, ink and quills.